Last week, the AZ Legislative session finished committee hearings. All bills that have not completed their committee hearings are now dead. So most of the 24 cannabis-related bills introduced earlier, both the good and the bad ideas, will have to wait till next session and a new set of legislators. The next two weeks will be focused on budget negotiations and then any remaining bills will be finished off in the session’s closing weeks.
At the beginning of last week we had four bills that were still in play. Our current flagship project which we’ve been working on for over a year, SB1420, a testing bill that has had many bells and whistles added and removed over the session, HB2064 a hard RW marketing to minors bills that wound up adding “opioid use disorder” as a qualifying condition, in a gesture to legislative bipartisanship, and, SB1282, a catch-all bill for some of the ideas proposed. Lastly, our main project last year, SB1098, a hemp bill had already made it through committees in both houses with zero changes and iwa waiting for its final vote.That’s how things looked last Friday.
After this week however, it looks like someone cuisinearted the heck out of 2 of our 4 bills. Yesterday was the last Appropriations hearing, so no other bills are going to come into play. Also yesterday, our buddy LD9 Rep Pam Powers-Hannley killed a 5th sleeper bill, SB1199, that would’ve allowed employers to use a cell phone app to test a workers’ eye movements to see if they have cannabis in their system. The technology isn’t even on the open market yet. It was just a fishing trip. Go girl.
Now that the Senate has HB2064, the marketing to minors bill with the opioid use disorder amendment, they are complaining about it and it is expected to die. But they intend to move the minor marketing provisions into 1282. While most of the bill was innocuous, and not an actual issue as much as reefer madness, there was a prohibition against using”cartoons” in marketing. As you probably already understand, the word “cartoon” is problematic, so we pushed back against that provision. They have agreed to cut the word “Cartoon.” A small rare clear victory.
SB1420 is still OK except the legislative schedule just shifted to the budget fight and all bills that spend or draw revenue are on hold until the budget is signed, They expect two to three weeks.There is a possibility the Dems will try to sink it by pushing for unsaleable amendments and then voting against the bill when the amendments aren’t allowed. Still up in the air
Same for SB1098, the hemp bill. Though it is not expecting further legislative challenges.
SB1282, the after-thought omnibus bill was heard last Wednesday in its barest form. As passed yesterday, the bill only allows dispensaries to have more than one secure door and an amendment was added to prevent retail outlets from opening closer than 2000 from a residential treatment center. HOWEVER, there are a handful of proposed amendments that haven’t been filed and will be introduced on the floor after the budget agreement is finished. Due to “ambush approach” of that tactic, I am expecting it to fail. All MMJ bills need 3/4s vote to pass.
Among the possible provisions said to be in play:
1. 2yr card for $50
2. 5% tax on wholesale to retail sales to go to general fund (Borrelli knows I will oppose the bill if that’s part of the final language)
3. End of rural migration
4. Roving DA cards for multiple locations held by one license.
6. The minor marketing stuff
7. Key provisions from HB2630, a bill to protect cannabis concentrates